The County of Westchester has a diverse population within its beautiful boundries. To protect the rights and privileges of all it's inhabitants, the County Board of Legislators passed the Human Rights Law. This law encompasses discrimination based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, creed, age, familial status, gender, marital status, sexual orientation and disability, in the practices of employment, in places of public accommodation, housing and the approval of credit.
Westchester's Human Rights Commission has developed materials explaining these areas of discrimination and what you can do if you believe you've been the target of such discrimination. It's important that you know your rights. A Spanish-language brochure is available explaining your rights too.
Read carefully the fact sheet(s) relating to your concern to determine whether what has happened to you seems to be against the law. If you're unsure, call or visit the Westchester County Human Rights Commission to make certain of your rights. The commission's services are free so don't hesitate to contact us with your questions.
The commission has the legal power to investigate your complaint. If the law was violated, we do have the legal power to conciliate or mediate your case. This means we will first try to help you and the person or organization you are complaining about reach a settlement.
Mediation by an impartial mediator is also available. Conciliation and mediation will depend upon the circumstances of your case. Conciliation and mediation could result in, among other things, monetary compensation, consideration for a job, promotion, reinstatement, receiving benefits or services, obtaining housing or other remedies.
If your complaint is not conciliated or mediated, you may go to a hearing before the Westchester County Human Rights Commission – a legal proceeding held before an Administrative Law Judge. After the hearing, a final order will be issued which must be followed.
Alternatively, if you do not want the Commission to handle your complaint, you may file a lawsuit in state court or with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you have been the target of discrimination. Remember, it is against the law for anyone to take any action against you because you have complained. Any complaint of discrimination or unlawful treatment must have occurred and be filed within one year of the alleged act.